Chelsea takeover: contract signed for Boehly group to end Abramovich era

A consortium led by Todd Boehly has signed a contract to buy Chelsea and the deal to end Roman Abramovich’s ownership will go through subject to Premier League and UK government approval.

Boehly, a part-owner of baseball’s LA Dodgers and founder of Eldridge Industries, is expected to be the most public face of the consortium, although the largest stake in Chelsea is set to be held by the US private equity firm Clearlake Capital.

Boehly has also partnered with his fellow Dodgers owner Mark Walter, the Swiss billionaire Hansjörg Wyss and the British property developer Jonathan Goldstein. Under the arrangement the Tory peer Daniel Finkelstein and the publicist Barbara Charone would become non-executive directors of the club.

The group was selected as the preferred bidder last Friday and has secured an agreement despite late interest from Sir Jim Ratcliffe. A deal had appeared in doubt amid fears of Abramovich reneging on a promise to write off Chelsea’s debt but the Russian oligarch denied on Thursday he wanted his £1.6bn loan repaid and within hours it emerged an agreement would be struck with Boehly’s consortium.

Chelsea are operating under a special licence triggered by the government when it imposed sanctions on Abramovich and froze his assets after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. That expires on 31 May, allowing more than three weeks for the sale to be completed.

The Premier League must ensure all the consortium’s members pass its owners’ and directors’ test and Chelsea have to apply for a licence from the government to complete the takeover. Abramovich has said net proceeds from the sale will go to charity.

A change of ownership would be a huge relief for Chelsea, who have been unable to hand out new contracts and have faced an uncertain future. Nadine Dorries, the culture secretary, said last week that the European champions were on “borrowed time”.

source: theguardian.com